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Monday, January 7, 2019

Mindful Mondays

Another periodic type of post I want to concentrate on this year involves mindfulness and just how much crafting, and specifically crochet, can help us achieve a meditative state.  Of course those of us who craft regularly know the relaxation and calmness that comes with getting lost in our projects and,  more importantly, the anxiousness and unsettled feeling that comes with not crocheting.  Seems like the rest of the world is catching on!  There have been a number of articles recently that focus on the benefits of knitting (though we know those benefits carry over to many other types of crafting), but I thought this one did a good job of capturing the range of specific benefits that can be achieved.

So, periodically on Mondays, I'd like to look a little deeper into these health benefits, the science behind them, and some practical tips for how to incorporate crocheting into your life if you're new to the craft and some new ways for the more experienced crocheter to rediscover and relish the benefits of crochet.

Today's fun fact is that using your fingers in crafting actually builds up their cartilage rather than wearing it down and helps stave off arthritis.   Even if you already have arthritis, you can improve it by soaking your hands in warm water and using larger needles or hooks for your projects.

Got some tips of your own you want to share?  Please leave a comment with your suggestions.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Fiber Fridays

Hi Crocheters, "Fiber Fridays" will be periodic Fridays when I post about the fiber world.  I thought I'd start with wool because that seems like a logical place to start, and there's a raging debate going on right now between animal rights activists, who feel that shearing sheep is cruel to the animal, and wool yarn providers, who point out that domesticated sheep need to have their fleece shorn.  I think you know which camp I fall into, though, like many debates these days, I also believe there's a middle ground that should be satisfactory to most.  Of course I believe there should be a lot of attention paid to sheep being cared for and properly shorn; and, if that's the case, then wool yarn is a great asset to humankind.  That's why I did a lot of research and wanted to know where my wool comes from before adopting Chausette from Owens Farm and having her fleece spun into beautiful yarn.

*If you'd like to learn more about the details of the debate, please read and follow Clara Parkes!  She encapsulates the discussion far better than I can and makes the case for shearing in an informed and rational way.

So, why is wool yarn so coveted?  Well, first I should say, "wool" is a very broad term; there are more breeds of sheep than breeds of any other livestock species (with the exception of chickens and other poultry). Worldwide, it is estimated that there are more than 1000 distinct sheep breeds, with over 50 breeds in the United States alone.  As a result, the different properties of each breed of fleece yields the different textures and qualities of different types of wool yarn.  I'll be going into more details in future posts, but suffice to say for now that insulation is the primary characteristic of wool that makes it so great for clothing.  A woolen sweater keeps you cozy and warm by trapping air between its fibers. It also allows perspiration to evaporate (wick) through the fabric, which helps keep your skin dry and comfortable.

Chausette will be sheared any day now, so stay tuned for before and after pix as well as the beautiful yarn her coat will produce!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year, New Aspirations!

Happy New Year, Crocheters! 2018 was an eventful year in many, many ways; 2019 promises 365 opportunities to try new and different things. This year, I'm using the word "aspiration," defined as "a strong desire, longing, or aim; ambition; a goal or objective that is strongly desired,” rather than just "goals" because I really want to tap into and capture the passion and desire behind the goals I want to achieve this year.

In 2018, I concentrated on being active on social media (please visit and like our Many Creative Gifts’ Facebook page and follow our Instagram!) to the detriment of blogging. I’ve been posting on Facebook a lot of beautiful crochet from so many wonderful crocheters and more personal photos on Instagram. This year, I plan on continuing my social media experiments (because it really is hard to know what works and what doesn't) and maybe even adding more videos (our YouTube channel still does have some oldies but goodies on there). Plus, getting back to the blogging...

Also, Many Creative Gifts is entering into some new partnerships! I don't want to jinx anything, but I'm really hoping this is the year we'll be offering some new patterns and kits as well as some electronic crochet tools.  That's all the tease I'll give for now!

So, to all of you who've signed up and stuck with me to get updates from my little corner of the crochet world, thank you so much and Happy New Year!